During the 2015 -2016 year, first-year freshman composition and freshman seminar students from the classes of Deana Johnson and Amy Williams partnered with UNCP’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) to host two Dr. Seuss-themed reading parties for partner elementary schools in Robeson County. Each semester a different elementary school and grade is invited to attend.
Last semester, on September 24th, approximately 120 third graders and their teachers from Pembroke Elementary School gathered in the University Annex to participate in the literacy celebration. This semester, on February 17th, approximately 75 second grade students and their teachers from Union Elementary School attended the reading party.
Lead by UNCP first year freshmen, elementary students rotated through six literacy stations where they read their favorite Dr. Seuss books, made Seuss-related crafts, fished for words to make sentences, created their own stories, and wrote letters to Horton. Both reading parties culminated with lunch of pizza (donated by Dominos), assorted snacks, and lemonade. In addition to leading the stations, UNCP students helped to plan the events, create needed supplies, and serve the lunch.
The reading parties have become a UNCP service-learning tradition over the last several years. One of the key areas of need identified in our community is the low literacy rate. By intervening early with elementary age students, UNCP students hope to foster literacy in our community by introducing them to our university campus and, most of all, making reading FUN for everyone.